Celebrating the Dormition of the Mother of God in Hamilton Sunday, August 19th presented itself as a joyous day as parishioners, friends and visitors came to The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Slovak Byzantine Catholic Church in Hamilton. They came to help celebrate the feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God. The church was filled with people young and old coming not only from the Hamilton area but from neighbouring cities and towns. They were greeted by the smell of incense, breath-taking icons, burning candles and Byzantine Chant. The prayerful and peaceful atmosphere was a welcome respite from the frantic pace of life outside the walls of this beautiful church. The procession of the Bishop, priests, sub-deacon and altar servers slowly made its way from the back of the church to the front as cantors led the congregation in singing “AXIOS”. The Divine Liturgy began shortly after, with powerful and thought provoking homilies by Bishop John Pazak, CSsR and visiting Fr. Jaroslav Lajciak from Rome, followed by the blessing of flowers and mirovanie. In the church hall, everyone enjoyed the meal prepared by church volunteers and listened to the exquisite singing of baritone Jan Vaculik. Was this a beautiful day? Yes, because it reminded us that we are all part of the one family of God, and that He is the centre of our lives as Mary, the Mother of God has shown us. We came together this day not merely to socialize, to reconnect with friends or acquaintances we don’t often see, but to very visibly share our rich Catholic faith with each other. As proud Byzantine Catholics, representing the Catholic Church’s other lung, we came together with one another and shared something very precious with fellow Byzantine and Roman Catholics this day. Our faith, nurtured over time, cultivated and matured is not something to be hidden, but joyously proclaimed. It is a faith ground in God’s love, the teachings of Christ and greatest action of love by Father and Son, witnessed by Mary. This faith is also ground in hope. To be believers is to be hopeful, because that is what Christ’s death and resurrection offers us. That is what that act of love offers us, hope in everlasting life with God. And so this feast of the Dormition too reveals to us hope brought to fulfillment, the Mother of God finding everlasting joy and life with God.
Thank you to everyone who truly made this day so beautiful and hopeful, to our Bishop, priest, visiting priests, parishioners, friends, visitors, volunteers. May we come to know the meaning of what it is to be part of this precious family of God.
And, thus, we invite all of you to come and visit us at The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Slovak Byzantine Catholic Church in Hamilton. Join us for Slovak, English or Old-Slavonic Divine Liturgy. Come and celebrate feast days with us. Come and share in God’s love with us.
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